[Story] Winter Veil Postcards 2017

Leinath wandered between the market stalls, certain to keep hold of his coin purse at all times. He’d heard stories about pickpockets in the city, and if someone was going to pick pockets, it would be a perfect opportunity to do so. Everyone was distracted by the stalls full of gifts, the cheery music and decorations. Most of the stalls were staffed by goblins, at least in the front. It seemed anywhere things were being sold, goblins were there.

“Happy Winter Veil, friend,” one of them called. She wore a huge floppy red hat with a bell on the end, perched on one ear. “What can I help you find today? A nice sweater, perhaps?”

In truth, Leinath wasn’t really sure what to buy. He’d thought looking at the market might give him some ideas, but he just felt more confused. What were you supposed to get someone who couldn’t use most things? And he still wasn’t sure where things stood between them, so there was a balancing act of not getting anything too expensive or sentimental. The goblin hopped down and went around to the other side of the stall. “Some chocolates?”

Orledin couldn’t eat chocolates, but of course he didn’t want to tell everyone in the market that. “He’s uh, he’s a ranger, so something practical.”

The goblin nodded, her bell jingling. “Say no more!” she said, and disappeared behind the counter again. “What about these fine boots, crafted of the finest crocolisk leather?”

Orledin probably could use new boots, while his were still in decent condition, these were really nice. And practical. But it didn’t really seem very personal. He already had all the baking equipment he could ever need, and Pancat had a nice bed and collar. Leinath had thought about a pocket watch, because he didn’t think Orledin had one, but he didn’t want to give the idea that Orledin was always late or something. He definitely couldn’t go back without anything at all, though.

“I’ll take the boots,” said Leinath.

The library in Shattrath had an abundance of books about its native plants, and Sorelle had brought several back to her room to copy the drawings. They weren’t allowed to go too far out of the city, so she’d only been able to find some terocones and felweed, which grew practically everywhere. She’d carefully shaken the seeds out of the terocones and saved them in a little paper pouch, labelled with the name. For Felweed, a cutting was necessary, and this she kept moist in her fruit bowl, once she’d removed all of the fruit.

They would be going to the market today, and she hoped she’d find someone selling more seeds there. In Dalaran there had always been people selling flowers and herbs, so she guessed there would be something similar here as well. Even if they didn’t have seeds for sale, they would better know where to find some. She might have to get special permission from the Headmaster, but Sorelle thought he’d probably allow it so long as she went with a teacher.

As they weren’t allowed in the market alone, she asked Xarola to go with her. Aside from being her best friend at the school, she knew a lot about plants — at least Azeroth ones. She was interested in learning more about Outland plants as well, and was eager to visit the market with Sorelle. The fellow at the flower stand was one of what Xarola called fungus people, short and tiny with mushrooms sprouting from their body. Sorelle was fascinated by these — she’d seen some Forsaken who grew fungi, but that was more because of poor care than anything else. Were these people some kind of hybrid, or were they fully fungi? She would have to do more research when they got back to the library. He — or it — Sorelle didn’t think fungi had genders in the way that people do — had an array of very small potted trees lined up on the table. They were evergreens, similar to the ones that had surrounded Dalaran when Sorelle was a student there initially, but these were an Outland variety, probably the same that composed the forest around Shattrath. The bristles were dark green in color, clustered together into little branches that alternated up the trunk. The pots were wrapped in brightly colored foil, and the little fungus person gestured excitedly to Xarola and Sorelle as they approached. “Winter Veil,” it kept saying, and pointing to the trees. “Ten silver.” She thought that might be the extent of all the Common that it spoke.

The tree was alive, fully rooted in its pot, not cut. If cared for, Sorelle thought it could be kept in the greenhouse until the spring. It would look festive in her room as well, lit with magical lights and hung with ribbons and maybe some cookies from the party. Of course, she’d need to ask permission from the Headmaster, but since small pets were allowed, she didn’t see how he could object to a tree. She took the coins from her pouch and gave them to the mushroom person, picking one with a red foil pot.

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[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Shattrath has been really interesting so far. I’ve been before, but this was the first time that I got to go and see the dragons. In Dalaran, we’d see blue dragons flying overhead sometimes, but they were always very far away. Still, I remember sitting and watching them in the sky and thinking how beautiful they were. The ones here are beautiful too, in their own way. Their heads are pointed like a shark, and they have crystal spines on them. Hethurin said that they’re dangerous and not to get too close. That’s probably true of all dragons, but these ones especially look ferocious. The place where they live is dark and barren, the ground is just hard rock and there are no plants or trees anywhere. Green stuff comes up through the ground and I guess it must be lava, because I don’t think the people from Undercity brought it here. Crystals grow in large clumps all over and they are beautiful, these humanoid things with big claws scrape at them and eat the little pieces that flake off. Hethurin put us into pairs and we had to fill out a sheet with our observations. My partner was someone I’ve never even really seen before, his name was Amor-something. I just remember Amor because that’s what he wrote on his paper.

He probably wasn’t too excited about getting me for his partner, but he said he’s been here about six months and still doesn’t know anyone. After class he just goes straight to his room and doesn’t go to the parties or anything. I felt bad for him, I’m sure others would talk to him if he tried. He seems nice, he’s not undead or a human or anything that would make others dislike him, he just gets nervous. So maybe I could be his friend, kind of for practice, though that might make others think he’s weird too. I don’t know. We worked hard on our sheet, I tried to think of anything else we could add on for extra credit. He’s studying frost mainly, but he thought it would count toward our Arcane grade. Maybe it does, if so I hope we got good points on it. We even got a little piece of the crystal that one of the things chipped off while it was eating. I thought for a minute that Amor was going to eat it! That probably would have been really bad, aside from eating rocks, it was very sharp and who knows what kind of magic is in them. The dragons are almost transparent in places, as if they are fading out of existence. That might happen if he ate it! Anyway, I hope he didn’t mind being my work partner too much, and I told him he should go to the parties even if there are a lot of people. At least to eat the food, I would if I could. Normally he said he waits until everyone’s already left.

I told him about the greenhouse too, and he seemed kind of interested, though he didn’t want to be there when someone else was. Usually it’s just Xarola and Vyn, once in a while Tik goes in to get cooking herbs and things. I found a library in Shattrath about different plants here, and I’m going to try to get some seeds to take back to the school so I can try to grow them. I’m not sure if it will work, but hopefully at least some will sprout. I still don’t really know what’s going on with Salenicus, but at least I have something to keep me occupied at night.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Braedra’s Journal

Terellion and all the students are away on a trip to Shattrath. I’d still like to go one day, it sounds so exotic and interesting, and I’m sure they could use the extra help supervising everyone. Terellion always tells me breathless stories about the strange things there, the bird people and naaru and the refugees in the Lower City. I’ll certainly ask to go next time, but the winter holidays will be here soon, and I wanted to take advantage of having everyone away so I could get gifts. The babies are the easiest to shop for — they like any sort of bright and colorful thing, I think little Galandil will want something to chew on, and Narise likes soft things that she can carry around with her. It might be a good idea to get her a soft doll so she doesn’t try to take any of Malwen’s! She’s a little more difficult, only because she has so many dolls already. I feel that another would just be forgotten. Perhaps something to do with snails, her newest fascination. Terellion’s baking has made him easier to buy gifts for — I can find some pan or bowl in the shops and I’m sure he’ll like it. The girls are too old for “baby things” as they call them, like dolls and toys, but not quite yet grown ladies. I thought perhaps a painting set or books might be good. I’m not certain about those books the students read though, no doubt they’ve already snuck looks at them, but I’m not sure I want to encourage that. Then again, I remember borrowing my mother’s to take into the bath, and I think I turned out fine, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. Hethurin is a puzzle, however. He already has so much, and his tastes in robes (and other things, surely) run to the extravagant. But I do want to get him something that reflects how glad that he’s in Terellion’s life, and ours. I’m very grateful to him for allowing us to stay here at the school, and letting the girls attend classes here. It’s so nice to be able to see them more, rather than having to travel to the city and back every day. And of course, I enjoy helping to care for all the babies. They’re just adorable and I’m going to be sad when they move up to Lali’s class.

I decided to enlist Isturon for help on my trip. For one thing, I am sure he needs to get gifts too — he has twice as many children as I do, and more grandchildren. I also thought he might be bored sitting around the empty school, his house isn’t finished yet and it’s so quiet without the students here. We mostly need to go to the same shops, and we could get lunch there besides. As I was, he was having difficulty finding something suitable for Hethurin. I suggested that they could spend time together, perhaps doing something Hethurin enjoys, like fishing. They would have the chance to talk and just enjoy each other’s company. That’s something you can’t really buy. Isturon seemed to like the idea, and even looked at fishing poles in one of the shops. Maerista, one of the younger teachers, suggested that I buy sweaters for everyone. We saw the sweater booth in the market, they do have a great many of them. And it can get cold out in the garden, so I got one for Terellion to wear while he’s working outdoors. I had one ordered for Malwen with a snail on it, I think she’ll like that. I’ll have to return in a week or so to pick it up. I do enjoy the city near the holidays, it’s always decorated so nicely with the lights and ribbons. There aren’t many evergreen trees, so they usually use some other sort of branch, I know the dwarves use evergreens though. We went to so many shops that it was difficult to carry all of the packages, thankfully they have mages for hire in the market who can make you portals to get home. We did have to ride from Tranquillien, but that’s not far. I can’t wait to see what Terellion does for the winter ball this year.

 

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Ratchet

[[ Hit 20k today, tomorrow is another write-in so I hope to get another big chunk done then! ]]

Raleth let his human illusion fade as soon as Vaelarian stepped through the portal. He’d made it far enough from the front door that he’d have time ask a few questions — he had many.

“What was that?” he demanded. “Those were sentinels, weren’t they?”

Vaelarian trudged ahead through the wet grass, pulling his cloak around his shoulders. Two days ago, Raleth had made the portal to the goblin town for Vaelarian to check his mail. Raleth had stayed back some distance, as much out of wariness as a wish to avoid having to smell Ratchet. Even from afar, the rotting fish and engine grease stench was overwhelming, not to mention whatever they were trying to pass off as food. The postal box was inside the general store, central along the little strip of shops, and Vaelarian assured him it would only take a few minutes. He entered, and a moment later was followed by two kaldorei women. Raleth guessed they had to be sentinels because of the bows slung over their backs.

Maybe, Raleth thought, they will shoot him outright and all of this will be over. But then he felt guilty for having had such a thought; no matter how much the old man irritated and frustrated him, Naraleth loved him, as did Lali. And Raleth had to admit that it was nice to be able to get away with Lali once in a while, though they couldn’t dine in town, there was still Shattrath and remote places they could take a picnic. He had no idea how he’d explain himself if he’d managed to get Vaelarian killed on a simple trip to the postbox.

“Vaelarian!” Raleth called after him, exasperated. He was ignoring him, which wasn’t unusual. Raleth considered a spell to keep him in place, but decided against it.

“Yes,” Vaelarian grunted.

“What did they want?” Raleth demanded. Though he knew Vaelarian had no particular love of the sentinels, it made him nervous to have him talking to them. They likely still wanted to know where Lali was, especially as he’d been writing asking about her.

“None of your business, blood elf.”

Raleth twitched an ear. “I’d say it’s my business as long as you’re living in my house.”

Vaelarian shot him a dark look, but shrugged. “Just asked where I’d been.”

“And?” Raleth suspected that any answer he got might be a lie anyway, but he was well armed enough with magic to protect himself from Vaelarian — and any other kaldorei who might come after them. They’d have to move again, and he didn’t want that. They were finally beginning to feel settled here, even Lali seemed to enjoy her work teaching the younger students.

“Kalimdor.”

Raleth watched Vaelarian warily. “They just let you go? I thought you were wanted.”

“I am.”

“I don’t understand.”

Vaelarian shrugged, turning back toward the house again. “I had a talk with their captain. You need to make me a portal every week or so.”

Was he spying for them? Raleth couldn’t be certain, it seemed unlikely but he didn’t trust the old kaldorei at all. On the other hand, he could tell them what the sentinels were doing — provided Raleth could get it out of him. He didn’t like the idea of spending so much time in Ratchet, either. Unlike Hethurin, he hadn’t studied time portals and a night in Ratchet meant a whole night away from Lali and Naraleth. He worried whenever they were left alone. He wondered, too, if the kaldorei were laying a trap for him. Did Vaelarian still believe that Lali was held against her will? How could he, after living with them for so long? He watched the old kaldorei go inside, without wiping the mud off his feet. He’d have to keep a close eye on him.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Maerista’s Journal

It was a relief to see that Magister Firewind is back from his trip. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy teaching the classes, I did, but it’s definitely more work than I am used to! I told him that everything went okay, for the most part. No one set anything on fire or hurt themselves. Their work got done and everyone showed up for class and lessons. I was a bit worried that they might think it was a break since their teacher was gone and I was only the temporary one, but I should have known better. They are good students and work hard. Felarius missed a few of his private lessons though, which I found odd as he kept up in his classwork. Aeramin didn’t seem concerned, though, he said that he probably just went to study at his house. While he wasn’t home? Seems a little strange, but if Aeramin isn’t concerned then I won’t be. As I said, he did all of his class work. Maybe he doesn’t actually need private lessons anymore.

Come to think of it, Aeramin was acting a little strange too. I wanted to know how his  trip was, and he was vague about it. He just said that it was warm. Well, obviously! I meant all the other parts, whether it was romantic and wonderful and all of that. He did tell me a bit about the island, how they bring food out every evening on boats. That does sound exciting! I’d like to go with Gael one day if it’s not too much. We never really got a real trip before, he had to start working and I was getting ready for Zaeris. I think I’d miss him so much if we left him at home though, and who would watch him? I would trust Nessna, maybe Lin but Sunashe is always making comments about letting their son ride that lizard. I can’t tell if he’s actually joking or not. There’s Ter’s mother, she normally watches him during school hours so he would already be used to her. I don’t want to impose by asking her to keep him for a whole trip though.

I also told Aeramin that he needs to get a sweater for Imralion so he doesn’t freeze, and to protect his ears. He’s convinced that he doesn’t need them because he’s always in the city, or at home with Aeramin. Well, it might get cold in the city, and what if he has to go outside for some reason? It’s not like they cost a lot of money. I think it’s well worth it to keep your husband’s ears safe and warm. He at least agreed to look at them, I told him about the stall in the market. Aeramin thought they wouldn’t have any in his size, but they have lots of different sizes. I mean, orcs need sweaters too, and they’re definitely bigger than Imralion. We also talked about children a little, I said I’d like more eventually, probably once Zaeris is a bit older. He doesn’t want any, he said, but would agree to it if Imralion wanted. I thought that’s probably something you should decide before you get married, but he has a point in that it’s not just going to happen accidentally. I mean, unless someone leaves another baby on their doorstep.

I wanted to talk to Terellion, but he was busy making sure there was enough food out on the tables. That’s supposed to be Tik’s job, but he insisted. He also kept wanting to check in on Narise and Galandil. Malwen was out with the main party, but the other two were in the nursery room with his mother. I’m not sure why he was so worried about it, she has a lot of experience with babies and she watches them all the time. He said it was because Hethurin’s father was in there, too, and he suspected they might be kissing. Seriously? He has the strangest ideas sometimes. I’m pretty sure they’re not, but even if they were, would they be doing it with a bunch of babies around? I doubt it. Ter made me promise that I’d tell him if I saw anything though. I don’t expect that I will, but I promised.

 

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I ended up wearing the purple mask. That one wasn’t in the last entry, but I made it to go along with the purple dress that I made. It looks really fancy and had all sorts of embroidery; I didn’t do that because I didn’t have time, but the cloth had some on it already so I cut it so it looked nice. It’s a good way to sort of cheat if you are busy, or also if you aren’t that good at embroidery, which I’m not. Either way, I thought it looked really nice and I made a mask to match with it, purple with black feathers and some little glass gems. I had shoes that weren’t too high so it would be easy to dance, and I put on some of the perfume that Xarola made for me. I think it had violets in it, which I thought would go well with the purple dress. I thought everything was perfect, so it was kind of disappointing. Maybe I should have worn a different mask? Or no perfume? I wish I knew what to do differently.

The party itself was lovely. I saw the ballroom when I went through. There were decorations in every corner and on every post, even hanging from the ceiling. There were autumn leaves made out of paper, and bats, and spiders. Tik and Terellion had put gourds everywhere too, some were carved and had candles inside like a lantern, the smaller ones were just for decoration. There was food in some of them too, like some sort of soup I think. I couldn’t believe how much food there was! It all looked wonderful and I so wish I could have tried it, but I know I would regret it after. Besides that, there was a warm spiced wine that smelled lovely. I miss being able to taste things. I think it’s probably the worst part about being undead. I stayed inside for a little, but I went outside to the garden to wait for Salenicus because that’s where he usually comes to visit. He said he came with Orledin, and one of the alive rangers. I guess none of the other undead wanted to come. I can’t really blame them, there isn’t much to do if you aren’t going to dance. He also said that Orledin was going to dance with the alive ranger. I wonder if that is true. It doesn’t seem fair.

We talked for a while, just about normal things like we do when he usually comes to visit. It was a little too far away to hear the music from inside, so we just had to imagine it. He was a better dancer than I expected, but not good enough that I had to remember any fancy dances, which was a relief.  I remember some, but it’s been so long I’m afraid I would have got the steps wrong. He did say my dress was nice, but that’s all. I guess after everything Xarola said I expected more, or he might have changed his mind and decided he didn’t really want to dance after all, and just went along with it because it’d be rude otherwise. He had his armor and sword, it was quite big and looked very heavy. I don’t know how he can carry it around every day. He said he takes it on his patrol, but the trainer makes him learn to use a bow, but not Orledin. That doesn’t seem fair, they should get the same treatment. And we can’t do certain things because our bodies don’t work the same way. Like we can’t make our muscles bigger, for instance. So it might always be difficult for him to use a bow. I said he should tell the captain about it, and hopefully he will understand. I know that some people don’t, because they don’t have much experience dealing with undead people, but from what I’ve heard he is fair to everyone. So much for romantic conversations though, talking about bows wasn’t in the dragon books.

I will have to ask Xarola about it tomorrow. She might have an idea what I did wrong. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s evening tonight though.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – Sorelle’s Diary

Dear Diary,

I haven’t picked a mask for the ball yet. It’s not that I don’t have one, I have five. I’ve been making them at night after my sewing is finished. I know I should be working on my plants in the greenhouse, but they can wait for a week or so. I can’t decide which mask looks the best, it doesn’t help that I don’t know what kind Salenicus will have either. Shouldn’t they match? Or would that be too weird? It might make him nervous or something. Or he might want to match and he’ll be upset if they don’t. I don’t know how elves think. One is kind of like a raven, it’s black and has feathers and a long nose, there’s curly things for decoration too. There’s some silver glitter to make it sparkle a bit. One is just green, it’s not really supposed to be anything. One is some kind of flower, I don’t remember the name but Xarola helped me make it. She told me what color to make all the petals and how they should be shaped. It’s really pretty but I doubt Salenicus will have a flower mask. Then there’s a harlequin with different colored diamonds and gold trim, and the last one is a horse. I couldn’t think of any animals from Dalaran, except a cat and I know at least two people will probably already have a cat mask. So I did a horse instead. I guess we could do one of those costumes where one person is the head and the other is the rear, but that would be weird, and also very difficult to dance.

I’m nervous about that too. I had lessons when I was a student, and I’ve been practicing so I remember most of them. But what if I mess up and step on his foot? What if I trip over my hem and fall? Or what if he doesn’t even want to dance at all? He might decide that, or they might not even show up at all. Hethurin could decide they’re not allowed again. I haven’t danced since dying, at least, not with another person. There’s all the usual worry about your dress tearing or getting dirty, along with the added worries about being undead. I’ve been trying to practice a little with Xarola, so I’ll be less nervous, but it’s not really the same. If I accidentally step on her foot or miss a step, I won’t be too embarrassed. I haven’t yet, or at least she hasn’t said that I did, sometimes it’s hard for me to tell.

She loaned me one of her dragon books to read, she said it was to give me ideas for things to say. There’s no way I’m saying any of that! First of all, Salenicus isn’t a dragon. At least I’m pretty sure not, because he would have gone back to his dragon form when he died. Unless it’s an illusion, but who would pretend to be undead? And his hands aren’t warm, so I don’t know how you would fake that. I’m pretty sure no one really says things like that, I know I certainly don’t. Plus, I don’t think we could do half of those things even if it wasn’t in the middle of a ball. If we were both alive, that might be a different story. But I asked her if she’d said them to Vynlorin and she said no, not exactly. Maybe she just thought I’d like to read them, they’re not bad for that at least. She said there’s a whole series if I want to read more of them. That might be something good for if I don’t have any sewing to do. I’ve finished up the ones that Xarola wanted, and also made myself one for the ball. But it also depends on which mask I pick, so I should probably sew one to match with each, so I’ll be prepared. I’ll need to ask Tik for more fabric though.